3. Keto benefits: Why eat a keto diet
The benefits of a ketogenic diet are similar to those of other low-carb and higher-fat diets, but it appears to be more powerful than liberal low-carb diets. Think of keto as a super-charged, low-carb diet, maximizing the benefits. However, it may also increase the risk of side effects a bit.
Turning your body into a fat-burning machine can be beneficial for weight loss. Fat burning is significantly increased, while insulin – the fat-storing hormone – levels drop greatly. This appears to make it far easier for body fat loss to occur, without hunger.
More than 30 high-quality scientific studies show that, compared to other diets, low-carb and keto diets result in more effective weight loss.
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On a keto diet you’re likely to gain a new control over your appetite. It’s a very common experience for feelings of hunger to decrease dramatically, and studies prove it.
This usually makes it easy to eat less and lose excess weight – just wait until you’re hungry before you eat. It also makes intermittent fasting easier, something that can enhance efforts to reverse type 2 diabetes and speed up weight loss, beyond the effects of keto only.
Plus, you could save time and money by not having to snack all the time. Many people only feel the need to eat twice a day on a keto diet (often skipping breakfast), and some just eat once a day.
Not having to fight feelings of hunger could also potentially help with problems like sugar or food addiction. At last, feeling satisfied can be part of the solution. Food can stop being an enemy and become your friend – or simply fuel, whatever you prefer.
Control blood sugar and reverse type 2 diabetes
Studies prove that a ketogenic diet is excellent for managing type 2 diabetes, sometimes even leading to complete reversal of the disease. It makes perfect sense since keto lowers blood-sugar levels, reduces the need for medications, and reduces the potentially negative impact of high insulin levels.
Since a keto diet may reverse existing type 2 diabetes, it’s likely to be effective at preventing it, as well as reversing pre-diabetes.
Note that the term “reversal” in this context simply means that the disease gets better, improving glucose control and reducing the need for medications. In the best case, it can be so much improved that blood glucose returns to normal without medication, long term. In this context, reversal means the opposite of the disease progressing or getting worse.
However, lifestyle changes only work when you do them. If a person returns to the lifestyle he or she had when type 2 diabetes appeared and progressed, over time it is likely to return and progress once again.
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Improved health markers
Many studies show that low-carb diets improve several important risk factors for heart disease, including the cholesterol profile, which includes high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. Total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are usually impacted modestly.
It’s also typical to see improved blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and blood pressure.
These commonly improved markers are connected to something called “metabolic syndrome,” an insulin-resistant condition that low-carb diets treat effectively.
My health markers after 10 years on a keto diet
Energy and mental performance
Some people use ketogenic diets specifically for increased mental performance. Also, it’s common for people to experience an increase in energy when in ketosis.
On keto, the brain doesn’t need dietary carbs. It’s fueled 24-7 by ketones along with a smaller amount of glucose synthesized by your liver. There is no need for dietary carbohydrates.
Therefore, ketosis results in a steady flow of fuel (ketones) to the brain, thus avoiding problems experienced with big blood sugar swings. This may sometimes result in improved focus and concentration, and resolution of brain fog, with an improved mental clarity.
A calmer stomach
A keto diet can result in a calmer stomach, less gas, fewer cramps and less pain, often resulting in improvements in IBS symptoms.
For some people this is the top benefit, and it often only takes a day or two to experience it.Learn more
Increased physical endurance
Ketogenic diets can in theory increase your physical endurance by improving your access to the vast amounts of energy in your fat stores.
The body’s supply of stored carbohydrates (glycogen) only lasts for a couple of hours of intense exercise, or less. But your fat stores carry enough energy to potentially last for weeks.
Beyond this effect, another potential benefit is the reduction in body fat percentage that can be achieved on a keto diet (see weight loss, above). This reduction in body fat weight is potentially valuable in a number of competitive sports, including endurance sports.
The ketogenic diet is a proven and often effective medical therapy for epilepsy that has been used since the 1920s. Traditionally it was used primarily for children, but in recent years adults have benefited from it as well.
Using a ketogenic diet for epilepsy can allow some people to take fewer anti-epileptic drugs or none at all, while potentially still remaining seizure-free. This may reduce drug side effects and thus increase mental performance.
More possible keto benefits
A keto diet can also help treat high blood pressure, may result in less acne, and may help control migraine. It may also help improve many cases of PCOS and heartburn, while also often reducing sugar cravings. Finally it might help with certain mental health issues and can have other potential benefits.
It might sound like a keto diet is a miracle cure for anything. It’s certainly not. While it can have many benefits, it’s not for everyone. Learn more about if a low-carb or keto diet is right for you
Learn more about the science supporting the effect of low-carb diets
Keto diet results
We love receiving stories from people who are using a keto diet to dramatically improve their health. We’ve been sent thousands of such stories, and we publish some of the most amazing ones – over 250 so far – for you to read.
All stories about keto results
Keto and intermittent fasting: “I am completely blown away by the changes”
How Melissa lost 100 pounds with a keto diet, and kept it off for 15 years